The Times photo by Betsy ReasonThe Belfry Theatre’s “Girls of the Garden Club,” from the 2016-17 theater season, was nominated for Best Set Decoration and Best Lead and Supporting actresses for the Encore Association awards, which are Oct. 30.
The Times photo by Betsy Reason

The Belfry Theatre’s “Girls of the Garden Club,” from the 2016-17 theater season, was nominated for Best Set Decoration and Best Lead and Supporting actresses for the Encore Association awards, which are Oct. 30.
We have some great talent in our Hamilton County community theaters.

That's evident from the many nominations for the 48th annual Encore Awards, which will be presented tonight.

The social event of the year is like the Oscars for community theater, where people dress to the nines, and cheer on fellow thespians lucky enough to go home with awards for being the best in their show.

If you've driven through the roundabout at Greenfield Avenue and Union Chapel Road, you may have noticed The Belfry Theatre, Hamilton County Theatre Guild's nostalgic 110-seat theater that used to be a church.

Year-round, it's busy with thespians rehearsing plays and musicals, and in the summer time, featuring youth in its Apprentice Players kids production. This year, The Belfry has 20 different category nominations for shows that include "Perfect Wedding," "Dashing through the Snow," "Girls of the Garden Club," and "The Foreigner," the latter for which there are 13 nominations.

About 10 miles, or a 17-minute drive, west of downtown Noblesville on Indiana 32, past Westfield, is a little community called Eagletown. It's where another little church-turned-theater is home to Westfield Playhouse's Main Street Productions. In its second year as a member of the Encore Association, Main Street earned 22 nominations, including for shows "The Sunshine Boys," "Christmas at Home," "The Runner Stumbles" and "Don't Hug Me, We're Married."

Then travel south on U.S. 31 to Carmel's Clay Terrace outdoor mall, and you'll find Carmel Community Players, next to Jimmy John's and Biaggi's Ristorante Italiano. Carmel Community Players earned a whopping 48 nominations, for shows that include "Driving Miss Daisy," "Suite Surrender," "Barefoot in the Park," "Dad's Christmas Miracle" and "Blood Brothers."

I've attended many of these shows that have been nominated for categories ranging from Best Production and Best Director to Best Lead Actors and Actresses, Best Set Design and Decoration, Best Lighting and Sound and more.

The Belfry Apprentice Players cast of Disney's "LIttle Mermaid," featuring Hamilton County youth ages 5-13, will perform a song and dance number that will be among the live performances at the event.

The 47-year-old Encore Association is comprised of nonprofessional, nonprofit community theaters. Its board annually plays host to an awards ceremony recognizing excellence from the previous theatrical season. A committee of judges view productions and select nominees. The judges announce the winners tonight (Monday, Oct. 30) at the annual awards ceremony.

Good luck Hamilton County theaters for all of your hard work throughout this past theater season and for seasons to come.

-Contact me at betsy@thetimes24-7.com.